Iliffe Media, new owners of the Bury Free Press, have bought another set of newspapers in Kent.
Iliffe has acquired the entire shareholding of Kent’s independent publisher KM Media Group. KM publishes nine paid-for and four free newspapers including the Kent Messenger Series and the Kentish Gazette.
The deal represents the latest stage in the expansion of Iliffe Media, following the launch of the Cambridge Independent in 2016 and the acquisition of 13 titles earlier this year.
David Fordham, former Chief Executive of Iliffe News and Media, led the latest deal on behalf of Iliffe Media: “This acquisition represents the latest stage in the continued expansion of Iliffe Media and further demonstrates Edward Iliffe’s personal belief and commitment in the future of local media, across all formats.”
Mr Fordham has also been appointed as a non-executive director to the board of KM Media Group, with immediate effect.
Mr Fordham (63) has local ties – he grew up in Newmarket and went to secondary school there.
His career in local media began in 1970 in Cambridge. From there, Mr Fordham moved to King’s Lynn before other posts led him back to Cambridge and the chief executive role at Iliffe News and Media in 1999 – a post he held for 13 years.
KM Media Group chairman Geraldine Allinson said the deal with Iliffe would allow KM to continue to evolve and bring about much needed investment to maintain its independence and continue to serve the people of Kent with trusted news.
In February, Iliffe purchased 13 titles in East Anglia and the East Midlands. These included the Bury Free Press and its sister titles in Haverhill, Newmarket, Diss and Sudbury. It also launched the paid-for Cambridge Independent in September 2016.
Iliffe followed this with the purchase of Velvet magazine and the quarterly business magazine iQ.
Chairman Edward Iliffe said: “We very much look forward to working with the management team at the KM and continuing to evolve KM’s trusted brand and highly valued local media, through investing in journalism and producing quality publications, websites and broadcast content that will be engaging to readers, listeners, viewers and advertisers alike.”